Monday 19 March 2018

Australia will target Ireland's line-out dominance in Dublin

Australia's Dean Mumm will start against Ireland
Australia's Dean Mumm will start against Ireland

Australia have stacked three locks into their starting pack in a bid to topple Ireland's much-vaunted line-out in Dublin on Saturday.

Former Exeter Chiefs second row Dean Mumm will start at blindside flanker at the Aviva Stadium, as boss Michael Cheika looks to crank up the set-piece pressure on the hosts.

Devin Toner has bossed Ireland's lineout work across an impressive autumn, but Australia are hunting a fourth-straight win this weekend.

"We want to focus a little bit more on our lineout this week and the threat that Ireland might pose there, they're very good in that area," said Australia head coach Cheika.

"Dean brings a lot of experience and quality in that area."

Lopeti Timani is the fall-guy in Cheika's pointed selection, with the physical flanker dropping to the bench in Dublin.

Israel Folau and Michael Hooper top the billing among six returning frontline stars who sat out Australia's 25-23 win over France in Paris last weekend.

Captain Stephen Moore returns at hooker, and will draw level with Adam Ashley-Cooper and Nathan Sharpe on 116 Tests in equal second place on Australia's all-time appearance list.

Fly-half Quade Cooper has recovered from an ankle problem, but only to take a seat on the bench.

"We'll probably lose a bit of Lopeti's ball-carrying," said Cheika, on his decision to start Mumm at blindside flanker.

"It's six of one, half a dozen of the other but we decided that was probably an important thing for this game and that's how we'll run."

AUSTRALIA TEAM TO FACE IRELAND IN DUBLIN ON SATURDAY: I Folau (Waratahs), D Haylett-Petty (Western Force), T Kuridrani (Brumbies), R Hodge (Rebels), H Speight (Brumbies), B Foley (Waratahs), W Genia (Stade Francais), S Sio (Brumbies), S Moore (Reds, capt), S Kepu (Bordeaux), R Arnold (Brumbies), R Simmons (Reds), D Mumm, M Hooper (both Waratahs), D Pocock (Brumbies). Replacements: T Latu (Waratahs), J Slipper (Reds), A Alalatoa (Brumbies), K Douglas (Reds), L Timani, S McMahon (both Rebels), N Phipps (Waratahs), Q Cooper (Reds), S Naivalu (Rebels).

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